Soul Culture - Fall 2006

Table of Contents

Paramahamsa Hariharananda:

Paramahamsa Prajnanananda:

Swami Shuddhananda:

Scriptures:

Kriya Yoga News

Greetings to one and all from the Mother Center! Baba Hariharanandaji's centenary celebrations are well on the way all over the world with immense joy, festivities, and fanfare. Kriyavans across the globe are taking part in the centenary programs with tremendous enthusiasm.

Holland Ashram hosted a ten-day Centenary retreat, August 4 to 14, initiations, guided meditations, daily discourses, and question and answer sessions under the guidance of Paramahamsa Prajnananandaji assisted by Swami Mangalananada Giri and Yogacharyas Peter Baba of Holland, Durga Ma of Chicago, and Christina Ma of Vienna. Paramahamsa Prajnananandaji's birthday was celebrated with great pomp and grandeur on the 10th of August.

The Tattendorf Ashram was also a scene of festivities from Sept 1 - 6, 2006. With several yogacharyas, disciples and devotees form many countries coming to pay their respects to Gurudev during the special Centenary year celebrations. There were discourses, initiations, and guided meditations.

The Tattendorf Ashram celebrated their foundation day on the 6th of September with great joy and devotion. Prajnananandaji, in his message on this special day, said, "Let our heart be the real altar of devotion. Let every conscious breath be an offering at the inner altar. Let every word be a loving prayer. Let every thought be a flower at the inner altar. Let every action be the art of worshipping the divine. Let our life be a dedicated to this beautiful altar of sacrifice and surrender. Let us sacrifice our ego and emotion and evolve spiritually in our thoughts, words and activities."

Centenary Kongress in Vienna, September 7-10, 2006

The solemn and manifold program was dedicated to the works of Gurudev Paramahamsa Hariharananda. The highlights of the program were the several enlightening discourses presented by Prajnananandaji that included Gurudev: "A Life of Love and Service, Gurudev's Legacy," How to Lead a God Conscious and Moral Life," "Indian Spiritual Tradition," "Our spiritual Journey," "Importance of a Master to Point the Way," and "Life and Teachings of Incarnations."

Several distinguished guests graced the occasion and paid tributes to Gurudev. Several talented artists presented beautiful performances of Indian music and dance in honor of Gurudev.

Guru Purnima Celebrations

Guru Purnima was celebrated in Chicago under the auspices of Paramahamasa Prajnanananda. Paduka puja to the holy feet of Baba Hariharanandaji was performed on this holy day by his beloved disciple Paramahamsa Prajnananandaji. Prajnananandaji greeted one and all with the following message on that day:

Loving and Divine Soul,

Let the choicest blessings of God and Gurus be upon you on this full moon in July known as Guru Purnima, the day when spiritual seekers honor and celebrate the masters.

ekam api akshavam yastu
guru vishyat probodhayet
prithivyam nasti tat dravyam
yat dattva arinem bhavet

"If a disciple has learned a little or even heard one word from a teacher, no payment in this world that can free a student from that indebtedness."

This beautiful verse stresses the greatness of the masters and the attitude of indebtedness students should adopt. A student learns through humility and obedience, just as valleys and lowlands catch more rainwater than the stiff mountain peaks of stubbornness and ego.

Let us be more humble and prayerful. Let us realize the greatness of the masters. This year is a special time to remember Gurudev and his boundless love and compassion. Let us see all the masters in his loving presence. He is the summum bonum of our spiritual lives. He has taught us with love and care. Although it is impossible to repay with love and thankfulness, let us show we are ever grateful to all the masters through our love for Gurudev.

In this centennial anniversary of Gurudev's coming, I pray to all the masters to bless each one of us with more love, peace, and knowledge.

Let us mediate nicely and try to change our lives in deep love and devotion.

With love,

Prajnanananda

Centenary Celebrations at the Mother Center

The Mother Center is getting ready for the centenary celebrations on the 30th November to the 4th December, 2006. The centenary celebrations start with a Peace Conference on the 30th of November. A special webpage has been created for the Peace Conference - http://www.peaceyourbirthright.org. Please visit the webpage for more details about the conference and our distinguished dignitaries.

On the 1st of December an Interfaith Symposium on Peace - Living Together in Community - Living Together in the World, will be held at the Unity Church of Fort Lauderdale. Arun Gandhi the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and the co-founder of the MK Gandhi institute of Non-violence, Rev Roy Eugene Davis, a disciple of Paramahamsa Yogananda, Swami Sharananandaji of Chinmaya Mission, and Paramahamsa Prajnananandaji will preside over the symposium.

On December 2, there will be presentation on charity work. Then in the early evening an outdoor Cultural Event will be held at the center with various performers, including classical Indian dance.

The mahasamadhi celebrations of our beloved Baba will be held on the 3rd of December, the day of his mahasamadhi. The day will begin with meditation, puja, discourses, dedication ceremony of the World Memorial Brick Garden, and conclude with the ceremony in the evening.

World Memorial Dedicated to Gurudev at the Mother Center

A very unique memorial rose garden with custom-inscribed bricks has been designated to honor Baba's 100th birth year at the Mother Center in Florida, USA, with the Dedication Ceremony scheduled for December 3, 2006.

The Paramahamsa Hariharananda World Memorial will reflect Baba's humble work in the world and is designed to expand in concentric circles with biographical engraved bricks, symbolic of the ripple effect of Baba's extraordinary life and teachings around the globe. It will be constructed at the entranceway to the meditation hall as a living garden memorial with many of Baba's favorite roses. All noble projects, centers, ashrams, clinics, charities, saints, and sages associated with Baba, as well as many of his favorite quotes and sayings will be commemorated. As new endeavors are dedicated in his holy name, future bricks will be added.&nbsnbsp;This sweet tribute at his holy 'abode of cultivation', as Baba liked to call the Mother Center, is planned for everyone's participation as we remember his Divine Example with deepest love and immense gratitude.

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Invocation To The Guru

nidhaye sarva vidyanam bhisaje bhava roginam
gurave sarvalokanam dakshinamurtaye hamah

My salutations to Shri Dakshinamurty, the guru of all the worlds, the treasure of all knowledge, and the doctor for those afflicted with the disease of worldly attachment.

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Message from the Master

Who Wants Truth?

All the people are shallow in their understanding of Truth. They mistake religious play to be genuine religion. They don't know that they must meditate to reach that Truth, to reach the Self.

External worship without sincere desire to unite with God and without meditation is a form of sense gratification and in itself actually masks the Self with illusion, delusion, and error. Genuine religion means to unite with God, who is the Self. The Kena Upanishad 1:2 says:

"He is the Ear of the ear, the Mind of the mind, the Speech of speech, the Life of life, and the Eye of the eye. Therefore an intelligent man after giving up self-identification with the senses and renouncing this world becomes immortal."

The truly intelligent person is one who sincerely desires Self-realization and meditates to achieve this supreme goal. To become Self-realized requires humbly approaching a genuine spiritual master, asking him questions to clarify your understanding and have him impart his divine knowledge, infuse you with divine energy, and guide you in meditation. Try and taste.

You must meditate more and more and more. Then you must apply this meditation in your daily life. Watch Him in your every movement, thought, work, and disposition. You will learn to objectively separate your personality, or ego, from your true Self. You will see that God is doer in every thought and action.

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An Excerpt from the Book 'Kriya Yoga'

Kriya Yoga

The mind is always restless and leads us into illusion, delusion, and error. If you can introvert the five sense telephones with the help of Kriya Yoga, you can remain in the pinpointed state of concentration. With the mind, intellect, and thought under control, super consciousness and cosmic consciousness can be attained.

This Kriya is based only on natural inhalation. There is no painful holding of breath or plugging of the nose. A Kriya yogi does not have to practice the various asanas or physical exercises. Normally, every person takes eighteen natural inhalations in a minute. During the sexual act the pace of respiration is accelerated and increases to twenty-four to thirty inhalations per minute. The heart also beats faster. During the time of anger the breathing is even faster. One breathes thirty to forty times per minute or even more, which is dangerous. A heart failure can be the consequence of extremely violent fits of anger. It is said that an elephant breathes only ten times a minute and so lives a long life. Crocodiles and tortoises take four inhalations a minute, and it is said that they live for more than a century. Through this Kriya Yoga we can increase not only our life span but also preserve sound health and an alert mind. During sleep we breath only ten to twelve times per minute, and the result is complete rest of the body and mind. That is because we completely forget our sense of the body and receive calmness. A sleeping person is almost a yogi; there is no body consciousness, but there is also no divine consciousness. If a person practices Kriya yogic breathing — deep, slow, and relaxed as in sleep — then surely he will get mental calmness. He will then enter into-the center and will perceive divinity within.

When practicing Kriya, we take deep inhalation and sufficient oxygen goes into the lungs, heart, and brain. Oxygen is the nutrition of the brain and, therefore, increases mental excellence, prompt understanding, ready wit, and quick receptivity.

The oxygen purifies the impure blood and the purified blood carries hemoglobin to the whole system. In every human being there are more than 72 billion vessels and fine tissues. This hemoglobin constantly passes through the blood vessels. The blood contains numerous chemicals: potassium, sodium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous, copper, sulphur, and more. These chemicals are passing through the whole body in solution. The word globin means protein in solution. Albumin, globulin, and fibrinogen are the three proteins running through the blood vessels keeping the body healthy and lustrous.

The Kriya Yoga technique is the combination of the three principal yogas: karma, jnana, and bhakti. Bhakti Yoga means the yoga of divine love. After prayer or worship, devotion or meditation, if a person does not feel divine love, then there has not been real prayer or meditation. It is, of course, difficult to gain divine love. But, through the guidance of a realized master or guru and through the practice of the Kriya technique, one can acquire bhakti. If a person has poor appetite, he should visit a doctor, get a prescription and use the medicine in order to increase the appetite. But, if the patient only reads the prescription, memorizes it and recites it loudly --no matter if he recites it a thousand times — he will not gain any benefit. One cannot achieve God-realization by only reading lessons or religious books and going to churches, temples, and mosques. The sick person has to follow the doctor's advice, purchase the medicine and take the medicine according to the doctor's instructions; then surely he will be cured. Similarly, if you follow the spiritual guide 100%, then surely you will get extreme calmness, which is godliness. Through this calmness you can reach God at the cross inside the brain where the light of God and the light of Christ-consciousness are always shining. So you require seclusion, because seclusion is the price of greatness. If, without distraction, you follow the advice of a realized Kriya yogi, then you can reach God very quickly. This Kriya Yoga technique is the quickest means of success. It will lead to the acquisition of balance of mind, amity, and love. Through this you can always remain in the third circuit (i.e., inside the cranium above the pituitary), which is the Kingdom of God. The longer you remain there, the more you will hear a constant divine sound and feel a constant touch sensation of God and visualize an effulgent divine light that altogether will lead you to a blissful sojourn in the Kingdom of Heaven.

In darkness you cannot walk properly on the road. However, if you carry a light in your hand, you can go everywhere without difficulty. In the same way, when you perceive constantly the divine light in your body, you can constantly feel cosmic consciousness in you. When the battery of a motorcar goes down, you take the battery for recharging; then afterwards you can again drive the car, even in the darkest night on a serpentine road. So, every morning if you charge the used-up battery of your system through the practice of Kriya Yoga, then throughout the day you will experience the presence of God within and feel that His power is guiding you in every action.

All religious organizations teach how to attain salvation. One says to pray jointly and loudly, while another says to offer flowers and fruits at the altar and chant mantras and hymns so that one can perceive God. Others say that only by chanting the names of Rama, Krishna, and Shiva will you be realized. But the Kriya Yoga system (as taught by Lahiri Mahasaya, Shriyukteshwarji, and Paramahamsa Yoganandaji in India) aims not only at salvation or Self-realization, it also secures simultaneous development of body, mind, intellect, and soul.

This is the scientific age and educated people do not accept fanatic ideas, orthodox views, dogmatic moods, blind faith, or religious play. They possess the yearning for God-realization, but they do not like to attach the wheels of a bullock cart to a motorcar. Comparably, the pattern of religion practiced during previous centuries cannot be satisfactory to the temperament of the modern times. Science aims at the acquisition of supreme knowledge and ultimately, cosmic consciousness. The Kriya Yoga technique is a scientific technique. Through deep and steady inhalation, you feel God in the pituitary gland and fontanel. If you keep pinpointed attention there, you will feel heaviness, which is the touch sensation of God on the top of your head. It is said to be like a cash payment; each inhalation gives you the immediate sense of creeping heaviness on the top of your head. Also, by the intake of more oxygen with deep inhalation, you will get physical, mental, and spiritual development.

It is necessary to withdraw the senses from the body and thus get God-consciousness, cosmic consciousness. So, if you pray loudly in the mosque, temple or church, your attention will remain tied to the words of the prayer or to the rhythm of the chant, and you will not be able to withdraw your senses from the material world. But Kriya is such a powerful technique that any person irrespective of caste, creed, or color can practice it and will immediately obtain extreme calmness. The aim of every religion is to get calmness and go into the center of the sensorium. With the Kriya Yoga technique, we can be peaceful, remain in the center, and realize the Self.

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An Excerpt from the 'Nectar Drops'

Paramahamsa Hariharananda

• That speech cannot reveal, but who reveals the speech: Know That alone is God.
• Each man is a little universe.
• Forgetfulness of the inner Self is a deadly disease.

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Art of Silence: Part VII

By Paramahamsa Prajnanananda
In spiritual life, seclusion has a greater role to play. The Bhagavad Gita, 13th Chapter- 8,9, 10,11 and 12 verses- there is a description of spiritual qualities that one should cultivate. There are 20 spiritual qualities. Out of these 20, two are related to silence. vivikta desa seavitvam- Live in a place of seclusion Aratir jan sansadi- Don't look for the association with many . Stay alone and don't seek the company of many. I don't know if you have tried to stay alone. For some people in the west, they live alone for a longer period of time. In one way, it is a blessing. One day, I was talking to some western devotees. I said, in the west, there is more opportunity to grow spiritually, which is not possible in India. Do you know how? In India, the family bondage is too much. To stay alone is not possible. Even if you don't want to marry, somebody would say you should marry for your parents' sake. Here nobody would tell that for parents' sake to make them happy, you should get married. It is not so easy. Attachment to place, attachment to people is too much in India. In America, people move from one house to another so often. Maybe in one life, a person might have changed 5 houses. But in India, one house multiple generations live for hundreds of years. They would say, "this is the place, where my great grandfather lived". Attachment! Here in the west although we have lots of opportunities, but many don't take it in a positive way. I am here; I'll accept this seclusion and silence as a blessing.

We give the example of caterpillar and butterfly. I have not seen the caterpillar become a butterfly here, but in India it is very common. If anybody comes to Puri or Balighai, one can find drumstick trees. It is a vegetable. It is long sticks. In the month of July-August, on each drumstick tree, you would find thousands of caterpillars. And they are covering the trunk, one after the other, one after the other- these thousands of tiny insects. And slowly, they grow. And they have hairy bodies. If you touch, you would get irritation. And after that they would move. Thousands of these caterpillars try to get into your house. They try to come inside. They would go to the corner. They make the cocoon and live within and they become butterfly. It is really beautiful to observe. How they come in, how they stay, how they make a cocoon and how they come out. This is the example of seclusion. For a great achievement in life- Let it be a scientist, a poet or a painter or a writer or a person with creativity. Silence and seclusion play a greater role. Seclusion is the price of greatness.

Once in my life, I stayed in Cuttack for more than one month. I did not go out of the apartment. Only every 3-4 days, one person would come to see if I needed anything. No need to go out. No need to talk so much. No need to be with so many people. Once I observed silence and stayed at Balighai (not the present Balighai location). It was a small hut with two rooms. No talk. No electricity. Simple. Whatever I had to do, it was done in the daytime as there was no electricity. I did not use anything to study in the night, just meditate or sleep. Daytime I did my work and I translated some book into Oriya. It was June 1987. I had nearly 1-1/2 months to 7 weeks of silence and seclusion. It was one of the most beautiful times. When I came back, I was just looking at the faces of the people and I was not willing to talk. No need to talk. In the inner silence, there is so much of joy. One who knows, he or she knows. It cannot be described. Talk less. Think less. Go into complete silence within. Silence as prayer.

There is a humorous story. There was a very famous speaker. He invited his friend. Can you come with me and listen to my talk? You will see thousands of people listening to my talk spellbound. Then the friend came. The talk was for one hour amid pin drop silence. And after the talk everybody was clapping. Then speaker came to his friend and asked,
'How was the talk? Did you like it?'
'You spoke nothing new'.
'What?'
'Nothing new'.
'What are you talking?'
'I have a dictionary and you spoke all the words from that book. There is nothing new'.
We speak using the same words again and again. We go to the temple. We go to the church. We pray. And if you look, what is our prayer? There is a beautiful prayer in Hindi. And many a times, when they do this Arati, this vesper, at that time, they sing. The song is 'Jay Jagadish Hare', a very common song. In this song, there is one stanza- tan, man, dhan sab hai tera (This body, this mind, all the material things, O'God, everything belongs to you. Nothing is mine. I am offering your things to you.) This is one line, one stanza. So, one devotee, was singing this song in the evening, before he went to bed. The next morning, he got up and he went to the temple and he started to sing the same song. Then God came and told him to stop! Then this man looked at God and asked what He wanted? God said, "Last night you said that your body, your mind, your material things, everything belongs to me and you gave everything to me, before you slept. In the morning, when you got up, how come you got more body, more mind to give me?"

Most of our prayers are just words coming from throat to the mouth. That's why Jesus said, "When you pray, don't pray like hypocrites. Go to your house, close the door, pray silently. The father, who is unseen, knows what you need." Pray silently. What does it mean to pray silently? To pray silently means meditation. No thoughts. There are two words in English- Word and World. They are very close to each other. When the word stops, the world stops. When thought stops, there is no world. Suppose, you are lying down on the bed, thoughts are coming, you are slowly relaxing. But so long as thought is there, you are not sleeping. Once the thought stops, what happens? When the thought stops then you sleep.

There are four states of existence- Wakefulness, Dream, Sleep and Realization. Ordinarily there are three states- Wakefulness, Dream and Sleep. Dream state is not sleep and dream state is really not a restful state. In dream, either you are excited or you are sad. In sleep, there is no thought. In dream, there is thought. When thought stops that means you are in deep sleep. For the one, who is sleeping, has no sense of world, no sense of the body, no sense of anything. So when word stops, the world stops. When the word disappears, the world disappears. World is nothing but the play of words. Pray silently. Go to your house, close the door. Pray silently. Those who practice Kriya, they understand it. Go to your house, close the door and pray silently. 'Silently' means not to speak and not to think mentally. Go to your house- where is your house? Your body is your house? Close the door. This body is the house, in which we live. And this body-house, nobody can claim that it is my house, I'll live here. In the physical house where you live, your wife might claim, your children might claim but this body house, who would claim? If you are married, the husband may claim or wife may claim- I have some right over the body. Be very Careful!
Go to your house, close the door. 'Close the door' means- this body has many doors. Close your eyes, close your ears, close your mouth. Close the door and pray silently. Enter into the state of silence, where no more words, no more thoughts would be coming. Try to decrease your thoughts. In the beginning, remain in one thought longer. Slowly try to go beyond the thoughts. Then that will be prayer.

There is a story. One lady loved a man. And she is writing a letter in the night. And she is so much absorbed in writing the letter that her lover is knocking at the door and she is asking 'Who are you?' He replies, "I am". And she is so much absorbed in writing the letter that she forgot that her lover is there, to whom she is writing. How much busy with the thoughts she was! Even in the prayer, you are constantly asking God - give me this, give me this, give me this Tere Dwar Khada Bhagvan bhagat bhar de re jholi. O' devotee, God is standing at your door, open your eyes and see. God is standing at your door. Whomever I see, I'll try to see God within. Not that I would look at the body, I'll go within- which is the living presence of God.

Mind is like a bee. Life is like a flower. The soul is honey. Mind is restless, moves here and there. Once the bee of the mind tastes the honey of the soul, the sweetness, it becomes still. That is the art of silence. Be still and know that I am God. Stillness of mind, in seclusion, in the cranium! Mind can conceive the inner truth. Blessed are those, who love silence. Try to live in silence. In spite of all activities, maintain inner silence and peace.

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An Excerpt from the Book 'River of Compassion'

By Paramahamsa Prajnanananda

Chapter 6
Acharya to Swami
In The Holy Company of Jagadguru Bharatikrishna

Acharya Shankara was the reformer of sanatana dharma, the eternal life style based on God-consciousness. In his 32 years of life span, he traveled all over India, revived glamour to the lost spiritual environment, authored commentaries on the major Upanishads, Brahmasutra and the Bhagavad Gita, along with other 62 books on spiritual life and several hymns and prayers, all in Sanskrit. He established four Peethas in four corners of India, Badrinath in North, Jagannath Puri in East, Shringeri in South and Dwaraka in West. These four Peethas are entrusted with the responsibility of safeguarding the spiritual heritage. The heads of these four Peethas are known as Jagadguru Shankaracharyas.

His Holiness Swami Bharati Krishna Teertha was Shankaracharya of Puri. For thirty-five years he held this responsibility of being the head of this historical institution.

Venkataraman was his pre-monastic name. He was born in March 1884, in Tirunelveli, Madras. He was a brilliant student always ranking high in his academic career. His father P. Narasimha Shastri, was a Tahsildar (revenue officer). In January 1899, he graduated from the high school, as the top student in the state. Then he joined Church Missionary College and later Hindu College in Tirunelveli and graduated with high honors. Then he got his Master's Degree in 1904 from the Bombay campus of American College of Science, Rochester, NY. A versatile genius, he also did his Master's in Sanskrit, Philosophy, English, Mathematics, History and Science. Having studied the different branches of apara vidya (material sciences), he focused his attention on para vidya (spiritual knowledge) under the direct supervision of Shri Satchidananda Shiva Abhinava Narasimha Bharati Swami, H. H. Sankaracharya of Shringeri Peetha. He became proficient in Sanskrit and all the scriptures of the sanatana dharma.

He was the principal of a college in Rajamundry for some time during which he continued seriously his own spiritual practice. After eight years of sincere sadhana, he took sannyasa from Swami Trivikram Teertha of Sharadapeetha at Benaras in the year 1919.

At age 37 he became the Shankaracharya of Dwarakapeetha, and continued till 1925. In the same year he accepted the responsibility of Govardhana peetha, Puri, and left Dwaraka.

He, through his erudite scholarship, simple living, broad outlook, and extensive travel around India, attracted many educated young men to the path of spirituality. Apart from his travel he spent a good period of time in Puri every year. The Sankaracharya Math of Puri is located in between Karar Ashram and Gurudham of Sanyal Mahasaya.

Brahmachari Robinarayan, while visiting his beloved Guruji Shri Sanyal Mahasaya, went to see this great reputed saint of that time. He prostrated flat at the feet of H. H. Swami Bharati Krishna Teertha, with devotion and reverence. The golden complexion of this young Brahmachari, his beautiful eyes full of love, knowledge and yogic power fascinated the Swami.

He asked, "What is your name ?" Brahmachariji replied, "Robinarayan." "What is your family name?" "Rabindranath Bhattacharya." "Bhattacharya ! bhattanam acharya ! Acharya, the teacher of the hamlet! Your family is a Guru Family. Isn't it?" Yes." "Where are you from?" "From the District of Nadia in Bengal." H.H. Jagadguru complemented - "Oh! Then you are the second Gouranga of Nadia !"

Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, a saint, considered a divine incarnation of 15th century was from Nadia and because of his very fair complexion was also known as Gouranga. He flooded the hearts of people throughout the country with divine love. He was always intoxicated with love for God. He lived for most part of his life in the holy city of Puri.

"Where do you live?" asked the Swami. "Karar Ashram of Shriyukteshwarji, which is very near to this place." Sincerity and simplicity that reflected in the face of this young Brahmachari was bridging a bond of divine relationship between them. In the course of conversation, this reputed monk of the country could foresee the divine destiny of the Brahamachariji. He asked about his meditation and inner experience and was pleased with him.

H. H. Shankaracharya was a versatile genius well versed in scriptures, proficient in many languages, and had a through knowledge of astrology. So Brahmachariji visited him frequently and spent a good period of time serving him, and studying scriptures under his guidance. Through this divine companionship H. H. Sankaracharya came to know about the great achievements of Paramahamsa Yoganandaji in the West. Invited by Yoganandaji' s organization in USA, H. H. Swami Bharati Krishna Teertha visited USA and also England during the months of February and May 1958. He visited several parts of America giving talks in different congregations not only spiritual, but also academic and intellectual. His logical interpretation of scriptures, his scientific outlook and mathematical knowledge greatly surprised the Western scholars.

He analyzed some sutras (aphorisms) from the Vedas and solved many complicated problems in mathematics, big calculations that would be difficult even with the use of calculators, just by glancing at them and amazed the audiences. Of his several books, Vedic Mathematics and Vedic Metaphysics Sanatana Dharma are still popular. Jagadguru Swami Bharati Krishna was the first and the last Sankaracharya to travel out side of India and go to the West.

Brahmachari Robinarayan became an ardent disciple of H. H. Jagadguru Sankaracharya. He was serving him with due reverence. Jagadguruji was a very strict and disciplined man. He never took food at other places, especially in the company of others. Once he had to take food with others, which was a violation of his own principle. He said to his beloved disciple, "Today surely I will be sick."

His words came true. He had a severe attack of cholera, and he was so weak that he was not able to walk to the toilets. Brahmachariji served him relentlessly as he lay on the floor, cleaning and disinfecting the body till he regained his health. Being extremely strict in his lifestyle Jagadguru Sankaracharya refused to take any medicine. But under the care of Brahmachariji, he regained his health.

In the Bhagavad Gita, the Lord teaches Arjuna, "To know 'That', go to a realized person, bow to him, ask with reverence and serve him with love, then he being a realized person will show you the path of experience." Brahmachari Rabinarayan was fulfilling the teaching of this great scripture in his spiritual life.

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An Excerpt from the Book 'Path of Love'

III. Love; An Expanding Circle

Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres.
— I Corinthians XIII.6-7

As the Soul lies within the body, the real center of love is within oneself. Love begins from within; from individual love it grows into universal love. Perfect love is the state of being one with the universe, in love with the Creator.

To be able to love, you must love yourself. You have a body, mind and Soul. Be conscious of God's gifts, and gratefully take care of what has been given to you.

The element, which makes up our body, is the same as God, just as the spider and its saliva are one and the same. The unmanifested God is manifested through all parts of the body. Your body is in God as God is in everything. Remember that the body is a gift of God, so feel the presence of God within. Take care of your body temple, in which the Soul resides temporarily. Love God through your eyes, ears and mouth.

Your body is not made of just the five elements. In the Vedas, the human body is described as a city of many doors, and we live in this city of doors for a short period of time. We need to gain the maximum benefit from this human birth.

There are nine doors in the body. These are the two eyes, two nostrils, two ears and the mouth. Seven of the nine doors are present in the face alone. The other two are the genitals and the anus. Thus we have five organs of perception, these are the eyes, ears, nose, mouth and skin, which are responsible for sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. We also have five organs of action, mouth, hands, feet, genitals and anus, which give us the capacity to speak, work, walk, procreate and excrete waste.

THE FIVE ELEMENTS

All living beings dwell in the house of the five elements; earth, water, fire, air and space. The elements in the body vibrate in two ways, and have two functions. Space is active in the ears to hear, and in the throat to talk. The air is active in the skin to touch, and in the hands for work. Fire is active in the eyes to see, and the feet to walk. Water is active in the mouth to taste, and the genitals for procreation. Earth is active in the nose to smell, and in the anus for excretion. When these organs of perception and action come in contact with external objects, we perceive the opposites of heat and cold, unhappiness and happiness, pleasure and pain. Since the human body is so prone to disease and degeneration, it is imperative that we take good care of the body. To take care of the body is also a means to practice spirituality.

If whatever you do benefits you as well as others, then you are walking the Path of Love. Many think they take care of the body but in reality they do not. When you love someone you take care of that person to a maximum degree. Take good care of the body by taking proper nutrition, exercise and rest. Drink plenty of water and get some fresh air at least for a few minutes a day. The body becomes a living temple of God when it is loved and cared for properly. The body is your temporary abode.

In a similar way we must love and train our mind. It is even more crucial to take good care of the mind, because the body is born in each lifetime and it is left behind, but the mind travels with us from one life to another. The mind is infinitely more powerful than the body. It attaches itself to various objects, moves from place to place at lightning speed, and is full of demanding thoughts and cravings. The mind plays in the internal world of the body; just as the body plays in the external world, with the help of the mind. The same mind that we have at the time we leave our body, stays with us and becomes the basis of our future.

The human body is the playground of the mind. The mind can go in either direction; up or down. The mind experiences the world with the help of the five vital energies, pranas, and the ten senses. We spend most of our lives, drowning out the voice of our Soul within, by wavering between the desires, agonies and doubts that our restless mind is always parading in front of us.

To think is the nature of the mind. Watch what types of thoughts enter your mind. A thought can only be of something you know or understand. You can never think of something that is totally unknown. When I first came to the West, while filling out some travel documents for my visa, an officer asked me if I was married. I said no. The next question was, "Do you have children?" I could not comprehend the question, as having children before marriage was not known to me. My understanding, coming from India, was people first got married and then thought of having children.

You can take care of the mind by decreasing the quantity of thoughts and increasing the quality of thoughts. On an average, psychologists say a new thought comes to the mind every three seconds. You can test this yourself. On a blank sheet of paper, if you put down a dot for every thought that goes through your mind, and count the dots after five minutes, you will know the rate at which your mind thinks. You can decrease the quantity of thoughts by watching your breath. This is the most effective way of controlling the mind, and making it calm. When I was in school, my room used to be full of pictures of many Indian deities whom I loved. When I was in college the pictures were replaced by sayings like 'Keep smiling', 'Speak the Truth', 'Help others'. When I got initiated into Kriya Yoga, I removed them and placed only the picture of the Gurus and some codes which only I could understand like, 'DIN' = 'Do It Now' or 'MYOB' = 'Mind Your Own Business'. This was one way I cut down the number of thoughts.

It is true that, sometimes, negative or unnecessary thoughts also come. Do not pay much attention to these. The more you try to be careful, the more they come. When I was in elementary school, I had to walk to school on muddy roads in the rainy season. Many stones stuck out as the mud was washed off by the heavy rains, and I would stumble, fall and get hurt. When I tried being extra cautious I noticed that the chances of falling were more frequent and it was highly likely I would get hurt again on the same spot. As you think so you become. Do not give importance to negative thoughts. They come and go. Keep the mind busy with good works and with good thoughts. There will be no space left for negative thoughts. When the mind is restless sing a song. It is a good way of calming down the mind. A song dedicated to God creates devotion. Begin the day with meditation and try to contemplate on a good thought each day. When you love a child, you are careful he/she will not go off in the wrong direction. When a negative thought is entering the mind, give it a positive element to think about. Where there is true love, there is no hatred and no dissatisfaction.

The Soul is the essence of life. Without the Soul, the body becomes inert and dies. All activities are possible because of the presence of the Soul. In practice, one should perceive the Soul through every activity, in every step of life. The Soul is infinite, immortal, pure. The same Soul resides in all; in plants, in animals and in human beings. When one is fully aware of the Soul, slowly love crosses the boundary of the body, the periphery of the mind, and spreads, flooding our life and the entire universe with a joy and a beauty beyond description.

Love your body, your mind and your Soul, and through these, love God. Know who you are. When you know the answer to the question 'Who am I?' you will be able to manifest and experience the highest form of love. Moses said, "Love God your Lord, with all your mind and all your strength." Which means let your body, mind and Soul be engaged in loving God, through a practical spiritual approach. In the Bible, the Soul is described as the image of God.

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Elements of Spiritual Development: Part VIII

By Swami Shuddhananda Giri

With finite mind, intelligence, thinking and contemplation, one cannot think of such thing, which is infinite in nature. Mind cannot think the source of the mind. Intelligence cannot analyze the source, the force behind the intelligence. It is limited. So in the life of the disciple, when we practice some spiritual discipline, when you get some knowledge, when you get some bliss, when you feel something, when you get some perception- at that time, you should feel that it is not enough, what I know is not enough. More and more would be ignorance- spiritual ignorance. Knowingly, you know something but still you would be ignorant. And this spiritual ignorance, through spiritual practice, more brings humbleness to life. And this more humbleness to life softens the heart. Then you are closer and closer to becoming a devotee of God. Life would be more and more devoted. You practice days and days, months and months and months, years and years and lives and lives, and then you feel complete helplessness. O'Lord! I am helpless. Through practice after lives and lives, what I realize is that through my own efforts alone, I cannot get this truth, I cannot realize this truth. So long as I am practicing to realize the truth, I won't get the truth because truth is infinite and I am limited. And when I realize through my practice, through my efforts, since lives and lives- O'Lord, I am totally helpless. O'Gurudev, I am totally helpless. I cannot get the highest truth through my own efforts. I am at thy feet. Then the blessings of God and guru bring the truth to the life of the devotee.

So, when a disciple tries to become the devotee of God, and when a disciple becomes a devotee, then it is not our responsibility, it is the responsibility of God and Gurus; they will take care. Spiritual life is a journey. Since lives and lives, we are practicing. How many lives, we have passed and how many lives will come, we don't know. It is a continuous process. And we are remaining where? We don't know. Where we are, we don't know. How far from the truth, we don't know. Maybe very near- we don't know, how far are we from the goal. But what you can do is, keep a continuous awareness of the goal. Yesterday, I was just talking that what is so called future for us, is already past for some other person. And which is called future for us, which is not happened in our lives, it is already happened in the vision of God. So in the spiritual life, you should be aware of the goal. And when you are aware of the goal, and we are there, then we are just passing the time for the body and mind, for purification, to get purified.

Spiritual practice brings purification to the mind, the antakarana. Then you realize truly that there is nothing to realize. Everything is there. So just we have to stay in, what Baba says- remain in the atom point. This is just a state of consciousness- 'I am there', 'I am there'. What happens, we are so much attached to the body, to the senses, to the mind that we forget that we are attached to God. God is attached to us. And this is truth. We believe but we don't have strong belief. We believe that God is everywhere. If God is everywhere, I can find within me. I can find Him just now. I can find Him anytime, any moment. But this belief, that God is everywhere, is not strong, in our conviction. It is just a fact. If this fact, this belief becomes stronger and stronger, then we can be aware of His presence all the time. This is the teachings of Kriya. In every action, we are aware of the power of God functioning. You don't know what is that power, you may not have realized the power but there can be some sort of awareness.
So we are so much attached because of past experiences, past vasanas, past tendencies, we don't have this firm strongest belief that God is with me, I am with God.

Suppose something is happening in your neighbor's house, there is some trouble, it is nothing to you. You don't care, you don't know. Why? Because you are not attached to that. Hundreds of Thousands of people are being killed every year- it is nothing to you. You are not attached to that. Many people are getting dead. But if you get news that one of your family members or one of your close friends is killed in the accident, immediately the emotion comes. Because when there is attachment, a strong attachment to something, or some person or some attitude and when there is something, which we don't expect, that brings misery, tension, and restlessness.

But in spiritual life when something is happening to a loved one, it is nothing to me. When something is happening to the mind also, it is nothing to me. When something is happening to the thoughts also, it is nothing to me. Why? Because I am the pure soul. Be very careful about this. One diamond is hidden with some mud, but the value is the same. Just clean the mud. So, essentially, we all are divine. And the nature is still there and it is hidden. And because we get a human body and the human body is playing with us through mind and thoughts. And we are so much attached to the body, mind, thoughts, sense organs and attitudes, we forget our true nature, we forget our true attachment to the divine, which is still hidden. The body will not remain with me always, the mind will not remain with me always, thoughts are not remaining with me always. In sleep, nothing remains. Only I remain. In deep sleep, nothing remains except you. This is truth. Only I remain. That is my pure nature. So, when something is happening to the neighbor, it is nothing to you. Same attitude should be practiced. Something is happening to the mind- nothing to me. Something is happening to the body- nothing to me. Yes, it is giving some pain but I am not unconscious of the truth- this is spirituality. Something happening to the body- I get some disease, I get some pain, I get some discomfort; it will go away. But I should be conscious of my own nature- nothing to me. Thoughts are coming to disturb me. It is a normal problem to each and every body. All the time, thoughts are coming. And thoughts can disturb me when I want to be disturbed, when I allow them to disturb me. Restlessness in thoughts would be there because of our past experience. Millions of lives, we have passed. All these experiences are stored in the causal body and astral body. It comes. We cannot check the thoughts, it will come. But what you can check, is your awareness, our individuality. I am the child of God. I am a disciple of my Master. I am a devotee of God. I am a lover of God. This sense, this awareness should be stronger and stronger, and then your attachment towards thoughts would be less and less powerful. This is important in spiritual life. And if you want to try to fight with your mind, try to fight with your thoughts, you will never succeed. No need to fight. Just be aware of your own Self. Just be aware of your own nature.

Suppose sometimes you are putting on some dress, which has some holes or is torn off, but it is nothing to you. If you want, you can change the dress and put on a new one. And Remember! So long as we live in this world- all the time, your body, your mind, your sense-organs, your life- there would be some mistakes. Nobody is free from mistakes. Even the realized person would commit mistakes. So long as we live in this world, the body is subjected to the gross laws, the body and mind are subjected to Maya. They will do some mistakes. Even the persons, who are highly realized, they will also do some mistakes. But what happens to them is that they are completely conscious of the presence of God, they are totally conscious of their own nature, that they are the child of God, I am the soul. Just like, when you are walking, unknowingly, just because you are walking, you kill some tiny animals or insects. You don't know what you do. So unknowingly, with your body, you can do some mistakes. Unknowingly, your mind and thoughts also would do some mistakes. But how do we become free- Not to fight with them but become aware of our true nature.

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The Bhagavad Gita (Chapter 17, Verses 26-27)

Paramahamsa Hariharananda

Verse 26

sadbhave sadhubhave ca
sad ity etat prayujyate
prasaste karmani tatha
sacchabdah partha yujyate

Translation

The word sat is used in its meaning of "reality" and its meaning of "goodness." O Son of Pritha (Kunti's son Arjuna), the word sat is also used for an auspicious action.

Metaphorical Interpretation

The Lord is saying, O Partha! I spoke first about aum and then about tat, Who is unseen, unknown, formless, and remaining in the whole universe. Now I will explain the meaning of sat.

Sat means the truth, reality, the soul, the real, the essential, the best, the learned, the excellent, the good, and the virtuous man. In the Brihadaryanaka Upanishad it says, sadeva soumya eva atma: "O dear student, sat is the soul."
Sat is the indwelling, imperishable Self that exists in every human being. Sat is the supreme Self, the conductor of everything. The indwelling Self is akshara brahma, invisible yet activating the body by the help of the supreme Self. When people become aware that the indwelling Self is always compassionately detached within, they will become honest, truthful, real, and divine. Sat (honesty) is essential for realizing sat (God).

Just as the sun continuously shines in the solar system but is, compassionately detached, similarly, the soul sun illuminating the body is ever free. God-conscious, divine people perceive themselves as the soul and enjoy freedom, remaining unattached, always feeling the almighty father's presence in the body.

In this verse there are two important words: sadbhava and sadhubhava. Bhava means mood, perception, attitude, outlook, realization, and so on. Sadhubhava is the attitude of a real monk or spiritual person. It is freedom from ego and any negative qualities. This is the divine mood.

Every person should lead the life of sat (truth), perceiving sat (soul) in every breath, and achieving God (sat), realization, and liberation.

Verse 27

yajne tapasi dane ca
sthitih sad iti co 'cyate
karma cai 'va tadarthiyam
sad ity eva 'bhidhiyate

Translation

Being steadfast in sacrifice, austerity, and charity is also called sat; also actions for the sake of God are verily termed sat

Metaphorical Interpretation

Every breath is a sacrifice, a fire ceremony. Tapas (penance or austerity) means to keep your awareness in the pituitary during every breath, perceiving the eternal fire. The real charity is giving divine knowledge, peace, and love. Keeping the mind in the fontanel is giving the mind to the almighty Lord. This is dana (charity).

Many people practice many spiritual techniques, but most are not well established in the state of truth. In this verse, the Lord says sthitih, meaning "steadfastness," being completely and firmly established. Everyone should try to be firmly es¬tablished in the pituitary and fontanel. Sthitih also means free¬dom from restlessness. Restlessness brings all troubles in life, while calmness brings peace, bliss, and joy. Calmness is god¬liness. Restlessness is attachment and calmness is detachment. Those who practice Kriya Yoga sincerely and with love, will be free from restlessness through breath control. They are firmly established in God-consciousness: they never forget Him. Any activity performed in God-consciousness is sat. This is kri and ya—knowing that all work (kri) is done by the soul (ya) is sat.

All work is an offering to the fire of God. Avoid negative thoughts, words, and actions because these pollute human life and bring much suffering. All work done in God consciousness will bring liberation because work is worship. This is sat, the divine life.

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Yoga Sutra of Patanjali

Interpretation by Paramahmsa Prajnanananda

Sutra 40

paramanu parama mahattuanto'sya vasikara

Word Meaning

parama — ultimate, supreme, smallest, highest, minute
anu — atom
parama — (and) ultimate, greatest
mahatva — greatness, infinity
antah — ending or extending
asya — of the yogi (his)
vasikarah — power, mastery, control
 

Translation

His power or mastery extends from the minutest atom to the ultimate infinity.

Commentary of Shri Lahari Mahasaya:

A yogi of this state has mastery over paramanu (minute atom) as well as the Supreme Feet (the divine state, the Absolute). A state attained through this determines the nature of memory and metaphorical interpretation.

Due to the grace of God and masters one gets the impetus to grow on the spiritual path. Prayer, surrender, and self-effort bring the ability to meditate. When one's life is streamlined and disciplined, meditation becomes a flow. Ordinarily this is interpreted as having extraordinary power through the practice of yoga and meditation. A yogi has thorough control over his or her own life and achieves everything wished for.

Metaphorical Interpretation:

The inner meaning of this sutra can be understood in other ways.

Asya — vasikarah: it is the quality of yogi, or his own spiritual accomplishments.

1. A yogi is able to perceive the power of God and the presence of God everywhere, from the minutest of the minute to the gross as well as the subtle. He or she has the ability to feel the omnipresence of God.

2. A yogi has mastered meditating in form as well as in formless. His or her mind is not attached to anything in particular as one is self-disciplined and can feel the beauty of the Lord with eyes closed as well as eyes open.

3. A yogi concentrating in the atom point of meditation feels the subtle truth and also searches the all-enveloping Supreme Lord who is omnipresent.

4. Through such a state of meditation, a yogi is truly humble and feels as an atom and at the same time experiences the greatness of one's own existence.

5. A yogi feels the presence of God within and outside.

O Seeker!
Be humble. Seek the grace of the master and God. Do not crave for yogic accomplishments, rather try to experience divine grace.

Live a life of prayer, meditation, and surrender and experience the presence of God everywhere.

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